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Scientists rid stem cell culture of key animal cells

ntiation.

If serum replacement triggers stem cell differentiation, Xu deduced, there must be feeder cell molecules that oppose BMP activity. Experiments confirmed this to be true.

Next, Xu elevated concentrations of FGF2, a protein routinely used for human embryonic stem cell culture, to test whether FGF2 preserves undifferentiated stem cells in the absence of BMP. The result was that "the cells looked perfect." Xu says he has grown the resulting stem cells in the desired undifferentiated state for almost a year.

Although the new work "dramatically reduces the possibility of contamination" from animal pathogens, Xu warns that the continued use of serum replacement and Matrigel means that contamination remains a concern. The ultimate goal, he says, would be to culture stem cells in media completely free of any animal products.


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Source:University of Wisconsin-Madison


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